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Cosmological argument

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Introduction

"Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument. To what extent do the weaknesses of this argument limit its effectiveness." The cosmological argument aims to provide a method of proving god exists by using the logic that there had to be a first cause in the Universe. This was first proposed by St. Thomas Aquinas in the first three of his Five Ways. His first way of trying to prove God's existence was motion or change. What he says is that in the world things are in motion or changing. Whatever is in motion must have been moved by something else. There can be no infinite regress of motion, therefore there must have been a first Mover which itself as unmoved. This Unmoved Mover began this chain of movement and this Mover was God. Something cannot move or change itself as it would have to be actual and potential at the same time. An object has the potential to move but does not actually move until something causes it do so. For example, wood has the potential to be hot but it is not until it has been set alight. However, the First Way goes against Newton's first law of motion, in which movement can be explained by a body's own inertia from previous motion. ...read more.

Middle

The universe is the totality of all things. Therefore, the Universe is contingent. As there must be a sufficient reason for everything, there must be a cause for the universe or a necessary being as Copleston called it. This necessary being must be eternal, non-contingent, and metaphysical. This necessary being is God. As you can see Copleston's theory of contingency depends on the Principle of Sufficient Reason as put forward by Gottfried Leibniz. He said that nothing takes place without a sufficient reason. Thus, everything requires a complete explanation. You cannot describe your existence by saying that you are the child of your parents as this gives only a partial explanation. For a complete or sufficient reason, we must go back until there is something that is non-contingent. This is what Leibniz calls God. As can be seen, acceptance of Copleston's theory of contingency depends on your acceptance of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Another flaw, however, was pointed out by Bertrand Russell in this same debate. He said that Copleston believes that the qualities of the part must be reflected in the whole. If the parts are contingent then the whole is contingent. However, this isn't necessarily true. All humans have mums yet humanity (the totality of humans) doesn't have an overall mum. ...read more.

Conclusion

By following the logic further the principle itself needs a sufficient reason as everything must have a sufficient reason. This would lead to an infinite regress of reasons and as proved by the Kalam Argument this cannot exist. Modern science further weakens the cosmological argument. The Big Bang provides a scientific explanation of the first cause of the universe, and thus eliminates the necessity for a God. The Steady State theory states that the universe has always existed as it is now, and thus is eternal. This eliminates the necessity for a first cause to the Universe. It seems that there needn't be a God for the universe to exist. Furthermore, Quentin Smith used quantum mechanics to demonstrate the possibility of things existing without a direct cause. The universe may have had a beginning, but there is not reason to think that it is God. As in the teleological argument, there may be a creator to the universe but who goes to say there can't be many? In conclusion, I believe the weaknesses outweigh the strengths of the design argument. While there may be no infinite regress of time in the Universe, there is no reason to assume that this first cause is God. While I may disagree with Hume in that there is no infinite regress I agree with him that his beginning need not be God. Therefore, I believe the cosmological argument alone to not be a sufficient proof of the existence of God. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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